Ashley Williams: Wales captain focused on Euro qualifiers not the future

Ashley Williams' Wales future a discussion for later date

Wales captain Ashley Williams says he is completely focused on their Euro 2020 campaign but may consider his international future after that.

The Bristol City defender was left out of the team for October's qualifiers against Slovakia and Croatia with Charlton's Tom Lockyer preferred.

The 35-year-old said he is prepared to fight for his place in Ryan Giggs' Wales starting line-up.

"Yeah it was disappointing, obviously I want to play," said Williams.

"With me playing at Bristol and with me playing well I wanted to play.

"I was disappointed as probably everyone else that was sitting on the bench with me for those two games was.

"But I understand the way football works and once the manager's made his decision you get on with it the best way you can and you try and help everyone else that is playing."

In Williams' absence Gareth Bale wore the captain's armband for Wales against Slovakia and Croatia, but the defender would still reclaim it if he plays in their upcoming fixtures.

"I'm still the captain of Wales so it's important that I respond to that in the right way which I'm pretty sure I did," said Williams.

"I still want to play for Wales and I expect to play for Wales if I'm playing for Bristol and playing well so we'll see how that goes."

The 35-year-old's international future has been the subject of debate recently, and Williams admits it is still something which he thinks about.

"It's something that I obviously have to think about and you know I'll have those conversations with my trusted circle and figure it out when the time comes," said Williams.

"It's not for right now, we're in the middle of a campaign so it wouldn't really be the right thing to do.

"I can't tell you when it will be, it could be tomorrow or it could be in a year's time, I don't know.

"But I'll speak to my family and my agent and the people I respect, my club manager and together we'll try and come up with the best thing.

"It's been well documented over the years how passionate I am about Wales, that is a foregone conclusion, we've got two games left [in this campaign] and that's my only focus."

Two 'massive' games in November

Gareth Bale and Ashley Williams
Gareth Bale and Ashley Williams are Wales' sixth and fourth most capped players, respectively

Wales' hopes of reaching the finals of Euro 2020 are no longer in their own hands going into their final two qualifiers in November, against Azerbaijan away and at home to Hungary.

Wales will qualify in second place in the group if they win both matches and Slovakia drop points in either of their matches, against Croatia and Azerbaijan.

"We knew that we would have to pick up some wins in this next four games," said Williams.

"We didn't get them in the last two which is a little bit disappointing but then when you look back they actually weren't bad games.

"We know we played quite well in them, against difficult opponents, so we weren't sure if we were happy or not with it.

"But it's quite simple really, we need to win both of these games and I think that the beauty of it is that there's been so many campaigns that we've been in where by this time it's done and dusted and there's nothing to play for so it's just pleasing that we've got these two massive games.

"As long as we deal with the Azerbaijan one, which is going to be difficult, it sets up a massive game at home against Hungary."

Raheem Sterling
England's Raheem Sterling was subject to racist abuse in Bulgaria

'Walk off would be perfectly acceptable'

Williams said he would lead his team-mates off the pitch if they were subjected to the same racist abuse as England were in Bulgaria.

England's 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifier win in Sofia on Monday was stopped twice in the first half following racist chanting by home supporters.

"What happened was a complete disgrace and England dealt with it quite well," Williams said.

"But a walk-off for me would be perfectly acceptable. You don't need that abuse at all.

"As players we understand that you're going to get booed or get a little bit of stick.

"But there's no reason why just because you play football you should have to deal with that (racist) abuse.

"If it was too bad then I'm taking my team out of the firing line - 100 per cent."

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